“My name is Rob Wilkes and I’m addicted to bicycles.”
If that has the ring of a 12 step program, don’t be fooled. I’m not here to conquer my addiction. I’m here to revel in it. I’ve been hooked on humanity’s most noble invention since a good friend re-introduced me to cycling almost 40 years ago. We were both students at Trent University when he convinced me to buy a Nishiki Superbe and start doing long rides. I was able to return the favour 10 years later when I introduced him to mountain biking. He took it up with a vengeance and to this day he and I still ride as much as we can and, as often as we can in separate cities, we ride together.
I know cycling not as an addiction that destroys lives but one that enhances them. I assume I’m preaching to the converted here. (Why else would you be reading the back story on a cycling video site?) We all know the positive physical and mental side-effects of this drug we call cycling, so let’s be proud of our love for bikes. All hail the Deliverer of Endorphins!
In fact, the love of bikes is the raison d’être for VeloVID. The love of all bikes—road bikes, mountain bikes, cargo bikes, urban bikes, gravel bikes, fat bikes—because all bikes are better than no bikes. VeloVID aims not to discriminate but to celebrate. I think every cyclist intrinsically understands this love of all bikes. What we don’t always feel is love for all the other types that ride these bikes we love so much. There are a lot of tribes in the cycling world and it’s not unusual for one tribe to find another a bit, well, ridiculous. We must fight this urge and recognize that, to most outsiders, we’re all ridiculous. (Just ask a non-cycling friend, if you have any). United we stand, divided we fall. This is as true for the urban cyclist fighting for proper bike lanes as it is for the mountain biker fighting for trail access, or the road rider who’s tired of getting buzzed by texting drivers on country roads.
And it’s true—we are all a bit ridiculous, in the way that true lovers are. But don’t worry, you’re among friends here. There’ll be no mocking roadies for their insufferable snobbery, or mountain bikers for their rad dude vibe, or urban commuters for their mud flaps and neon vests. Oh, and no gratuitous crash videos! My feeling is if you really love cyclists you don’t revel in watching them get hurt. Personally, I avoid crashing whenever possible and when it does happens it puts me in a very bad mood. So it’s not something I seek out when I’m looking for a cycling video. If that’s what you’re here for, sorry.
Borrowing a line from Apocalypse Now, I like to describe VeloVID as “curated, with extreme prejudice.” As I alluded to in my mini-rant against bike crash videos, there are a lot of bad cycling videos out there. You can waste a lot of time and come away very frustrated on YouTube—or you can come to VeloVID and enjoy your time watching only the best the web has to offer. Or my idea of the best, at least. I sincerely hope there’s nothing on VeloVID that you’ll consider a waste of time. I like to think of this as procrastination well spent.
There’s no doubt that VeloVID is a personal project, a labour of love if you will, and reflects my point of view in everything—from the reviews, to the videos selected in the first place—but it can be much more. My hope is that like-minded cyclists out there will submit videos they feel are worthy. I reserve the right to disagree but, in the spirit of the coming-together of the tribes, I promise to keep an open mind.
One last thing. As I write this, it’s a perfectly awful end-of-March day, with freezing rain, icy roads and muddy trails. Only a day for the “hard men of the peloton”, as they say. A perfect day to be inside watching, or writing about, cycling videos. But tomorrow promises to be warm and sunny and I’ll be on my bike. You should be too. Remember, our addiction is to the bike, not the bike video. VeloVID is here to support your cycling addiction, not our creeping collective addiction to screen time. No video beats the real thing, but I hope this collection comes close.
See you on the bike,